Ron Trent

Outstanding Contribution 2013

They say great leaders had two key qualities, humility and willingness, and Professor Trent exemplifies these characteristics to a tee.

His contributions to medicine, research, education and the community most notably in clinical genetics (and now genomics) have been extraordinary, including his contributions to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

His involvement in the NHMRC commenced in the mid -1980s from his tremendous effort in peer review activities to his involvement in major NHMRC committees including:

1994 - 2006
Chair, Gene & related Therapies Research Advisory Panel (GTRAP)

2006 - 2012
Chair, Human Genetics Advisory Committee

1997 - 2009
Member, Research Committee

2006 - 2012
Member, NHMRC Council

2012 - current
Member, Research Translation Faculty

Professor Trent is well known for is his leadership in the promotion and development of medical molecular genetics in Australia. He was the foundation Professor of Medical Molecular Genetics at the University of Sydney (1991 - present) as well as forming the first stand-alone Department of Molecular & Clinical Genetics (now Department of Medical Genomics) in an Australian teaching hospital.

He was the foundation Chief Examiner for Laboratory Genetics in the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) (1996 - 2002). There are now medical trainees in this field in most Australian states as well as New Zealand. This was acknowledged in 2008 with inscription on the Honour Roll of the Royal College of Pathologists, Australia.

Professor Trent has been actively involved in research for 30 years, including as author of 200 research publications in peer reviewed literature predominantly on the clinical applications of medical genetics and genomics. He authored the textbook Molecular Medicine; the first of its type when published in 1993 and was awarded the UK’s BUPA Prize for the best medical textbook. It is now in its 4th edition (2012) and has been translated into three languages.

In 1983 Prof Trent set up the first DNA-based genetic testing services for thalassaemia disorders in Australia. This subsequently evolved into a comprehensive DNA testing service as a stand-alone department within the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney.

He founded and then was Director of The University of Sydney Prince Alfred Molecular Analysis Centre) (SUPAMAC) from 1996 to 2008, which provided state-of-art DNA sequencing platforms to researchers and hospital scientists.

In 2007, he developed the Sydney Forensic Medicine and Science Network (SFMSN) which is the interim phase for a formal University based Institute of Forensic Medicine and Science SFMSN formed to bring together forensic medicine and forensic science expertise within the University of Sydney particularly work conducted at the Sydney Medical School.

In 2011 the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering elected him a Fellow.